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1 WHEN LIFE BEGINS ABU YAHYA Smashwords Edition ISBN No TRANSLATED BY BASHIR NAZIR, ABU MASROOR, FIZZA RASHID, ASMA KHAN ET AL. Copyright 2012 Inzaar Publications ********** Thank you for downloading this free ebook. You are welcome to share it with your friends. This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided the book remains in its complete original form, with the exception of quotes used in reviews. ********** To order this book in print form (ISBN: ) from anywhere in the world, please contact Inzaar Publications at: Phone number: (+92) Website: For details of our other publications by the author, please consult our website. ********** An Unforgettable Tale A Life-changing Story **********

2 Dedicated to the Grace and Mercy of The Lord of the Day of Judgement ********** Table of Contents 1.Translators Preface 2.Preface to the Revised Edition 3.Preface 4.Chapter 1: Judgement Day 5.Chapter 2: In the Shadow of the Throne 6.Chapter 3: The Plane of Judgement 7.Chapter 4: Naimah 8.Chapter 5: Two Friends 9.Chapter 6: Whose Kingdom is it Today? 10.Chapter 7: Testimony of Prophet Jesus PBUH 11.Chapter 8: At the Kauthar 12.Chapter 9: The Nation of Noah PBUH and Those who altered their Faith 13.Chapter 10: Accountability and Inmates of Hell 14.Chapter 11: At Last 15.Chapter 12: Muslims and the Israelites 16.Chapter 13: Journey towards the Eternal Destination 17.Chapter 14: Entry in the Realm of Paradise 18.Chapter 15: When Life Begins 19.In the End, a few Words 20.Some Important Points: An Explanation 21.Other Books by Abu Yahya 22.Glossary ********** Translators Preface In the name of God, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

3 All praise belongs to God, Lord of all the Worlds. It is definitely a manifestation of his infinite mercy and beneficence that he bestowed upon his weak and humble servants the honour of working on this project to spread his message. When Life Begins, an English Translation of the revised edition of the original text in Urdu, is the fruit of efforts of a number of people who devoted their time, talent and efforts voluntarily. I have, therefore, appropriately titled this introduction as the Translators Preface rather than Translator s Preface. This subtle placement of an apostrophe makes it the result of teamwork rather than an individual effort. It also goes to highlight that sometimes even small, mundane and seemingly insignificant deviations lead to significant changes in the text and context. Hence, the translators have to be highly conscious and dedicated to the spirit of the original Text if they have to convey the spirit of the original text to the readers. While regular translation demands such stringent discipline, the need for exactness becomes all the more important when translation involves statements and references from the Qur an and sayings ascribed to the last Prophet, peace be upon him. It is for this reason that we have opted to keep the spirit of the original text alive, sometimes at the expense of diction and fluency. The reader may find some sentences as stilted and unidiomatic. To alleviate that to some extent, brackets have been used to clarify the meaning of a particular term or to insert the Arabic term for the English equivalent. In addition, a Glossary has been appended at the end of the booklet to define major Islamic and Qur anic terms and concepts for the benefit of those who are not familiar with them. The Urdu Novel titled Jub Zindagi Shuroo Ho Gee was published with the sole purpose of introducing the Islamic concept of Hereafter to Muslims and to invite them to live their worldly lives in accordance with the tenets of Islam so as to benefit from the rewards promised by God in the Hereafter. Little did anyone know that it would become a movement of such gigantic magnitude. The Urdu version soon achieved the coveted status of the most sold book in Urdu in recent times selling in excess of 80,000 copies in the first year of its publication. Concurrent with its popularity, demand for translation in English became stronger. As the initial chapters were translated and posted on the internet, the flood of s requesting early completion provided impetus to the team of translators to work as fast as they could. Sacrificing other commitments, the translation team toiled for innumerable hours to make the target release date of the book in the Holy Month of Ramadan, 2012 a reality. I must also admit that the translation project was a personally enriching, yet emotional journey for all of us. As we worked through various chapters, the powerful Urdu text evoked mountains of emotions such as guilt, regret, remorse for a life wasted, and shame on being presented to the All Mighty one day with the realisation that one would have nothing to offer but tears of regret and guilt for a life not spent as it should have been. One had to constantly, and with some effort, detach himself/herself, from that emotional state back to a rational frame of mind to concentrate on the task at hand. The composition of the translating team is a testament to the huge inspiration and influence the original Text has had on its readers. I started the project on my own but as the translation was uploaded, offers of help started pouring in. About seven people actively helped to varying degrees in the translation work over the last year. These men and women came from diverse backgrounds with abodes over four continents and ages ranging from 14 years old to above 60. The fact that some of them have used pen names

4 while others chose to remain completely anonymous is an indication of the altruistic motives of all the team members. I am humbly proud of leading a team of such dedicated, hardworking and willing volunteer translators, without whose untiring efforts, this translation project would not have been possible. May God All Mighty reward them for their efforts. On behalf of the team, I would like to especially thank our families for their support, which was pivotal in the successful completion of this project. I am also thankful to those who proposed suggestions for improvement that were incorporated to enhance the quality of this work. Every effort has been made to be as precise and accurate as possible. As for any inadvertent errors in the translation that may have slipped by, I am solely responsible. I am deeply grateful to Abu Yahya, the author of the original account in Urdu, for the enormous help and guidance extended to all of us in patiently explaining the concepts, statements, and moot points of his original text. In closing, I find nothing more appropriate to say other than what he had written in closing the preface to the Urdu version, that is: Even if one person is saved from becoming the fuel for Hell, even if one person is added to the dwellers of Paradise, the efforts of our team will have borne fruit. Bashir Nazir Completed on the night of 25th of Ramadan, 1432 Anno Hegirae corresponding to 13th of August ********** back to top

5 Preface to the Revised Edition: A Book that became a Movement By Abu Yahya All praise, commendation and gratitude is only worthy of the One and only God, who bestowed upon us the ability to express due to his benevolence and compassion. May the Almighty shower eternal blessings on the personage who was given the gift of Qur an and who then dedicated his life to show the people the way to Paradise, and to save them from Hell. I can start the preface of my book, When Life Begins in two possible ways. The first is for me to praise the record-breaking popularity of my book. The alternative is, rather than singing my own praise, I should tell the readers about the favours and kindness of the Almighty God. The latter is the only befitting course for a humble servant of the Lord. I intend to follow this course. When I wrote the book, I was quite scared. The reason was that in many places this humble servant had dared to write dialogues articulating the will of his Lord. I took some comfort from the fact that the Qur an and sayings ascribed to the last Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, had guided me in my writing. However, there was one point in the book where I had transgressed my limits and made a certain claim, relying on my faith in the unlimited generosity of my Lord. It was the point where I had attributed a statement to the Lord that he would ensure that the book reached all the people who loved him and that he would convey its message to their hearts. The least punishment for saying something beyond my standing would have been to prove me wrong in this very world. In that case, the book would have reached a few after its first publication and would have ended up in a pile somewhere, ready to serve as a meal for bookworms. However, my most compassionate Lord honoured the words of this humble servant in the most generous manner. The book was first published on the Internet and I can say without any exaggeration that it reached hundreds of thousands through that medium. As far as the printed book is concerned, more than 12 editions have already been published within a few months. This incident is a living testimony to the fact that the creator and Lord of this Universe is a living and dynamic deity. He is aware of the minutest happening in the Universe. He is well aware of the sins that the criminals continue to commit blatantly and is also conscious of the hopes that his weak and feeble servants hold from him. Therefore, the most knowledgeable and kind Lord made humble writing of this servant a source of guidance for countless people. He is the one who put the thought of reading this book in the hearts of his servants as well as their subsequent mission to get others to read it too. Its effect is not confined to influencing people to motivate others to read the book, in fact; it is now a movement that has affected countless lives. It has ignited the love of God in innumerable hearts as well as a longing to meet him. Consequently, the faith of

6 countless people has grown stronger and so many who were lacking in righteous deeds have mended their ways. I received regular feedback from the readers after formal publication of the book. I had realised quite early that I would have to review some of its parts. Some friends had provided useful advice and suggestions. However, my other engagements and recurring printing of editions of the novel did not allow me the opportunity to work on the revision. I, therefore, decided to set aside some time specifically to make a few important changes and additions for the revised edition. The changes and additions to the book are of two types. Firstly, I have made some amendments to the text and secondly, I have added an explanatory article at the end that answers some important questions raised by the readers. There were plenty of questions to which I had routinely responded to via . However, I have included some of the more important questions requiring further elaboration in this article. Thus new readers will now comprehend the book easily while the earlier readers will still enjoy a second reading of the book. Some of the readers may now also find answers to their questions in the article added to the book. An important point to note regarding the changes is that conclusion of the book has been altered slightly. One reason for the change is that many readers felt that the intensity of belief that they experienced while reading the book decreased after reading the ending. For me, it was of paramount importance that the feeling of strong belief in the reality of this meeting with God should persist till the end. Second reason for the change is that I have decided to write a sequel at the insistence of various readers. In the context of the current ending of the novel, it would be a sequel but when both the parts are viewed together, it would in fact be its prequel. With the grace of God, the plot of the second part of the novel became obvious to me during the current month of Ramadan. Changes to the previous ending were also necessary to allow me to write second part of the book. However, I am unable to say at this point, as to when the second part would be completed. I request you to pray to the Almighty to make this task easy for me. In the end, I would like to add a few words regarding the publication and availability of the book. The book is now being published on three types of paper including the deluxe edition printed on art paper for readers with a penchant for finer quality. The availability of the book was also an issue until recently. Now it would be possible for the readers to easily order it from all over the world. In addition, we have also arranged a discounted rate for readers wishing to distribute the book to friends and relatives. You may contact us on the telephone number (+92) to order. I pray to the Almighty to forgive our mistakes and accept this humble effort, Amen! Abu Yahya On the Day of Arafa, 1432 Anno Hegirae, corresponding to 6th of November, 2011 **********

7 back to top Preface Some Clarifications, A Few Apologies By Abu Yahya Voltaire ( ) was amongst the most important personalities of the Age of Enlightenment that started in Europe. His writings and ideas laid the foundations of modern western thinking on Church & State. During his time, an earthquake struck the Portuguese city of Lisbon. A Tsunami and fire that raged through the city afterwards devastated it. A city where once millions lived was ruined. This tragedy sent shock waves throughout Europe. It had far reaching effects not only at political, economic, and social levels but it also affected the philosophy and prevalent ideas of the time. As was customary then, traditional religious leadership declared it a punishment from God. However, times were changing fast. Hence, there was a profound reaction. In the background of these events, Voltaire first wrote a poem titled, Poem on the Lisbon Disaster and later, a novel, Candide. The basic message he conveyed was that in the new world, there was no room for a perception of God as portrayed by Christianity, a God who punished the guilty and the innocent indiscriminately. Initially, Voltaire s work faced criticism & restrictions but soon the ideas presented therein started to gain acceptance and he eventually became the predominant voice of his time. Slowly, the consequences of attributing incorrect ideas to the concept of God almost led people to denial of God s very existence. Thereafter, an era ushered in western societies during which, taking God's name was deemed idiotic. Akbar Allahabadi, an Indian poet of the British-occupied India, portrayed this scenario in the following verse: The foes have reported me to the State For taking God s name in this day and age In the decades that followed, the concept of God regained acceptance in some shape and form; however, a concept of Hereafter that would evidence perfect justice of God and provide true explanation for the inequalities of this world never received general acceptance. Voltaire had a Christian background. The concepts about Hereafter in Christianity were vague and did not answer many sound questions that came to his logical mind. Hence, he became the founder of a movement for rejection of God and Hereafter that has dominated the world ever since. Fortunately, Muslims possess a book like the Qur an that unfolds the second and the last chapter of the story of human life, i.e. the Hereafter, without which it is not possible to understand the realities of this life and Universe correctly. In the Muslim societies of today, there is a conflict between religious extremism and unbridled open mindedness similar to the forward thinking era of Europe. The immense benevolence of God has given me this opportunity to present to the readers, through of the medium of this novel, details of the second and the last chapter of the story of mankind before another Voltaire emerges from this conflict.

8 The reason for going into this detail is that the readers of Urdu literature are familiar with novels based on detective stories, romance, and historical or social aspects of the society. Traditionally, only novels in these genres are written and read. In reality, the scope of novel writing is much wider. Various components of a novel like its plot, development, characters, events, dialogues etc., rely on the particular genre of novel writing on which the novel is based. When Life Begins, is an unconventional novel as it does not fall under the genres mentioned above. However, despite being unconventional, it remains a work of fiction. Every novel is a work of fiction as it builds castles of imagination in an illusionary world. These castles may touch many heights of imagination, yet their foundations are firmly rooted in reality. My novel is a piece of fiction as far as the central character and the events surrounding it are concerned, however, the world of possibilities that this fiction introduces you to is the ultimate reality of the Universe. Unfortunately, this reality is currently concealed from the human mind and vision but the time is not far when this world will reveal itself to everyone as the ultimate truth. For the readers, this novel would have been quite interesting even if the context were only confined to the aforementioned; however, the irony is that eventually, every reader of this novel as well as every inhabitant of the world is going to be a part of this work of fiction, destined to play the role of one of its characters. This irony has forced me to pick up the pen and venture into this field. I aim to present to the reader a world of unseen and concealed possibilities, as a living reality in the form of fiction. It is a difficult and sensitive task as there is no physical depiction of this future world in front of us, nor can we allow our imaginations to run rampant. Fortunately, there is enough information in the teachings of our Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, for us to form a mental picture of that world, and I have tried to portray it on the same basis. In such a work, due to the requirements of novel writing, it is necessary to write dialogues and construct imaginary scenes. Nevertheless, I have kept in mind the attributes of God mentioned in the Qur an and the sayings ascribed to Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, at every step of this sensitive work. In spite of the care I have exercised, it remains a sensitive matter with possibilities for errors. I hope and pray for forgiveness of the Almighty for any such mistakes, seeking his mercy and beneficence. At this point, I would like to share with the readers the fact that initially I did not intend to make this work public. I sat down to put some of my thoughts about the Day of Judgement on paper. However, within days it took the shape of the first eight chapters. After going through them, I decided that it was not appropriate for publication. However, I asked some friends for their opinion. Their feedback, in contrast, was to the contrary. Furthermore, the writing had an extraordinary impact on them. For most, it was a wakeup call and a life changing experience; they strenuously insisted that I should complete the novel and publish it. In spite of the insistence of my friends, I could not persuade myself to complete the novel. When the pressure from the friends began to mount, I decided to perform a special prayer for guidance ("Istikhara"). This allowed me to give my undivided attention to the project and I completed the novel. Even then, I was still not ready for its publication. However, within a few days of its completion, I found that a potentially lethal disease had knocked on the door of my worldly existence. At that juncture, I decided firmly that God

9 willing, I would publish it. People regard me as a scholar and a writer. In fact, I possess neither the pen of a writer nor the brain of a scholar. My whole life s capital is a compassionate heart, and when this compassion grew in intensity, it took the form of the novel. This is my sole excuse for venturing into this delicate field. This excuse may become acceptable in the court of the Almighty if only I could assist in returning a few sheep lost from the herd back to the Guardian of this world. In today s world, people have neither the time nor the inclination to listen to the call of an unseen world; however, may be, this work of fiction would incline them to listen to the call of their Lord. May be, because of it, some servants may return to their Master. May be, some feet taking steps towards Hell would stop and turn back. May be, it would lead to the addition of one more resident to the Paradise. If that were to happen, it would be my reward for this work. Call for him, you may find his way If not, life s journey is futile anyway Abu Yahya ********** Chapter 1: Judgement Day Earth had become devoid of all its creases. Rivers and mountains, ditches and hills, and oceans and forests, in essence, every depth and every height of this world had been demolished. As far as the eye could see, Earth was a level plane and on top was a fire spitting sky... however, the sky today was not blue, but it was a glowing red in colour. This redness was not due to the blazing flames of the sun but was an effect of the flames that periodically leapt upwards from the Hell towards the sky; they were like openmouthed serpents trying to take the sun into their fiery embrace. This horrifying scene created by the leaping flames from Hell and the uproar from its blazing fires was making hearts tremble with fear. These trembling hearts were the hearts of criminals. They were the hearts of the negligent, the arrogant, and the cruel; they were the hearts of murderers and the rebellious. They were the hearts of the world s pharaohs and tyrants. They were the hearts of those who considered themselves gods and icons of their time. They were the hearts of people who lived in the world bygone as if they were immortal, albeit, when they died, they became as if they had never lived on the face of Earth. They were the hearts of people who lived in God s Kingdom and ignored him. They were the hearts of people who ruled like gods over the creations of God. They were hearts devoid of love for fellow human beings and of remembrance of God. Hence, today was the day when these negligent hearts were to become fuel for the

10 raging fires of Hell and its unending punishments... punishments that were waiting to have their hunger relieved by stones, and by people with hearts of stone. It was a day of festivity for these punishments for; their eternal hunger was about to be quenched. Due to the intense fear of these punishments, these criminals of God were running amok in search of a sanctuary... but in this flat plane, there was nowhere to hide and no sanctuary to find. Everywhere there was calamity, disaster and hardships...and for these stone hearted criminals, a never-ending misfortune. ********** No one knows how many years... or how many centuries have elapsed in this condition. This is the place of adjudication and the Day of Judgement... a new life has begun... a never-ending one. I too, stand in this place of Judgement, lost and speechless, staring with vacant eyes. In front of me, countless people run and fall in a chaotic manner. In the background, an echo of noises emanates from the roaring flames and is mixed with the shouts, cries, and wails of people. People taunt each other, hurl abuses, and blame each other; many are engaged in scuffles. Around me, some are holding their heads, while others pour dirt on their faces. I see some people hiding their faces in shame; others are bearing disgrace. Some are banging their heads on stones; others over there are beating their chests. Some are blaming themselves while others are having a go at their mothers, fathers, wives, children, friends, or leaders, holding them responsible for their ruin. All of them have the same problem; the Day of Judgement has arrived, and they have not prepared for it. Now! They may blame others or themselves, they may mourn or be patient, but now, nothing can be altered. Now! There is only a wait, a wait for the appearance of the Master of the Universe, following which the accountability will commence, and the destiny of every person shall be determined with justice. Suddenly, a person near me shouted: Ah... I was better off dead! Even the pit of the grave was better than this. I had been standing silent and speechless for a long time on this flat plane, completely unaware of the happenings around me, when the near-yelling voice of this person brought me back from the valleys of my thoughts, into the realm of reality. In an instant, everything became afresh in my mind, from start to end. My story, the story of the world and the story of life... all began to run in my mind like the reel of a film. ********** I was at home at the onset of that dreadful day. It is not possible for me to explain the location of that home. For the casual observer, it was the dark pit of a grave; in fact, this was a door to the real world of the Hereafter... a door that could not be opened back into the world. I did not wish to open that door anyway. For, after passing through this door, I had now entered the world behind the veil... the world of Barzakh. It was a world that

11 contained never-ending comforts for me. That day, my close, long-standing, and dear friend Saleh had come to visit me. Saleh was the angel who was assigned to my right side when I was alive. His closeness and presence was always a source of immense solace for me in my life after death and as usual, we were having a pleasant conversation that day. I asked him during that conversation: My friend, tell me something, why have you been assigned to me? Saleh replied in a serious manner, You see, Abdullah, my companion and I were assigned to you when you were living in the world. He used to record your bad deeds and I, the good ones. You would not let me sit idle for even two minutes. Sometimes you would be reciting supplications for the Almighty, sometimes shedding tears in his remembrance and sometimes praying for fellow human beings; you would spend your time in ritual prayers, your money in God s way and your energy working for the welfare of people. In short, even when you were not doing such deeds, you would at least have a welcoming smile on your face for other people. Therefore, I was always busy in recording some activity of yours. You almost killed me because of overwork and exhaustion! However, you know we angels are not like you humans; we do not recompense bad deeds with bad ones! So, you see, despite these bad deeds of yours, I am alongside you and looking after you. I replied in an equally grim tone, I wronged the angel on my other side even more than I wronged you. He used to write down my sins but immediately afterwards, I would repent. The poor soul then used to erase all he had written and curse me, complaining that if I was going to make him erase it, why I made him write it in the first place. Eventually, he got so fed up that he prayed to the Almighty for my riddance. That s why, ever since I died, only you have kept my company. Saleh burst into laughter on hearing this. Then he said: Don t worry, he will return at the time of accountability. According to the Law, both of us will have to present you in front of the Almighty. As he uttered these words, his face showed a profoundly grim expression. He became quiet and bowed his head down, becoming immersed in deep silence. I had not seen him behave in this manner previously. As he raised his head up after a few moments, the ever-present freshness and smile had disappeared off his face, replaced by shadows of fear and sadness. He made an unsuccessful attempt to smile and said: Abdullah! Archangel Rafael has received his orders; the time for fulfilment of God s promise has arrived. The deadline given to the inhabitants of the world has passed. You will continue to enjoy the blessings of your Lord a bit longer, behind this curtain of Barzakh, but I have to depart now. I will meet you again when life begins again. When your eyes open, the Day of Judgement would have begun. I shall meet you again that day. ********** The commotions of life were continuing as ever. The shopping malls had the usual activity and razzle-dazzle. There were various entertainment events going on in New York, Los Angeles, London, Shanghai, Delhi, Moscow, Karachi, and Lahore. Spectators

12 were watching and applauding 20/20 cricket and World Cup football matches being played in the midst of floodlights that turned nights into days. People intoxicated with alcohol were busy drinking in pubs and bars while others watched strip tease in nightclubs. Actors were captivating appreciative fans in Hollywood and Bollywood movies. Movies, dramas, stage, television, belly dancing, and fashion shows had models and actresses dancing, gyrating, and parading their bodies while their financiers filled their pockets with money made from these enterprises... The owners of multi-national companies were the new conquerors of the new world; talented youth were happy to sell them their knowledge and skills, so that they could weave dreams for their future careers. The glitter and dazzle of media, the spiced up world of journalism and the upheavals of the world of politics with its never-fading treacheries and deceit were continuing unabated. Men and women were engaged in shopping in the bazaars of this world, surrounded by eye-catching shops and hailing shop owners. There were echoes of songs and music in lavish abodes of the prosperous, which were in sharp contrast to the silence of hunger and poverty rife in the shacks of the poor. People were singing songs of merriment in wedding celebrations but shadows of sorrow and despair shrouded funerals and hospitals. Religious leaders were safe guarding personal interests in the name of God, wealthy people, as ever, were oblivious to the trials and tribulations of the poor. Government servants were filling their pockets with tainted money from corruption and dishonest traders were filling their safes with income from adulteration and hoarding. Rulers were busy in exploiting their people while super powers continued to work on their schemes to maintain their subjugation of the world. In short, all were engrossed in their jobs and interests, as ever. The dwellers of Earth were doing what they had done all along: tales of cruelty and disorder, stories of deceit and deception, race of greed and selfishness, attitudes of negligence and rebelliousness, obliviousness to God and Hereafter, political commotions, economic struggles, religious feuds, and inter-class tensions... everything was going on, as before. The prophets of God had already departed from the world centuries ago. Agricultural age changed to industrial age and then, industrial age transformed into the age of information; however, human attitudes did not change, nor did their sorrows. Human beings had the same old worries of work and livelihood, the same setbacks of love and romance, and the same predicaments of death and disease. At this time, as at any other time before, human beings were concerned about every worry under the sun except for the worry for the Hereafter; they had every fear except for the fear of God. The sky witnessed the fact that the human race, which had spread injustice and chaos all over God s Earth, had now become an unbearable burden for the planet. Therefore, it was given repeated shocks, as reminders. The predictions of the final Prophet began to come true. The bare-footed, goat herders of Arabia managed to build the tallest skyscrapers, but the humanity did not take heed. The descendants of Noah s third son Japheth that is, the race of Gog and Magog, became the gatekeepers of the world. They started to attack the dwellers of Earth from the ultimate heights of greatness. Great Britain, Russia, America, and China... one after the other, took the throne of ruler of the world. All predictions of the divine scriptures came true, but humanity still did not come to its senses. Then followed tsunamis, floods and earthquakes, but the humanity remained in negligence. God created the information age, his non-arab believers took the message of their Arabic Prophet and clarified the truth in its ultimate form in front of the whole

13 humanity, so that, no reason was left to deny it. However, humanity still did not pay heed. Before the Day of Judgement arrived, the picture of the Day of Judgement was painted in its ultimate form to awaken the humanity but there was no change in the attitude of people. At last, the event that was bound to happen eventually did happen! Archangel Raphael heard the orders of his Lord and picked up the trumpet in his hand. Within moments, the end of the world was here. The checkerboard of the Sun was folded back; stars began to lose their shine. Mountains as big as the Himalayas began to fly in the wind like balls of cotton wool... peaks turned into deserts. Seas gave rise to waves as tall as mountains and soon, the planes of this world became oceans. Earth emptied the bellies of its volcanoes onto its surface rivers of fire started to flow through valleys. The planet off-loaded all its earthquakes... Earth was turned upside down. Cities became ruins while buildings turned to dust. Soon, habitations started to look like graveyards. What worth did the frail human beings have in front of these upheavals? Only a while ago, people were busy making plans for a new home, or a new shop and business venture harbouring hopes for an upcoming wedding busy searching for a new car or new clothes planning for a bright future for their children suddenly, those plans and schemes vanished from their minds. Mothers busy in feeding their babies ran for their lives, leaving the children behind. Pregnant women miscarried; the ones who were physically strong ran while trampling the weak whereas youngsters fled leaving the elderly behind. Now, gold and silver lie on the side of roads, currency notes fly in the wind and precious goods lie scattered but there is no one to take them, no one to gather them together. Home... business... relatives... relations and assets... all have been rendered irrelevant. Every soul is concerned only for itself. Today, man has forgotten everything and is only calling one God, but there is no response. Atheists and non-believers are also repeating God s name but no one can find a place of sanctity. The shadows of destruction are difficult to escape from; death is on the hunt everywhere. Hardships have surrounded people from all directions. Finally, life surrendered, to death. Life was over... but only because, life was about to begin, in earnest. ********** I could hear the wind buzzing in my ears. A few raindrops landed on my face. I began to regain consciousness. I kept trying to get up for a long time, but my senses were not working fully. I remained in this state for a very protracted period. Then, I heard a familiar voice in my ears. Abdullah! Get up, quickly! This was the voice of my long-standing, dear, and beloved friend Saleh. His voice worked like magic and I stood up quickly. Where am I? was my instinctive first question. He replied while tapping my shoulder, You have forgotten, what I told you. The Day of Judgement has begun. Raphael is blowing the trumpet the second time. At the moment, its volume is quite low. Its sound is waking up only those people presently who

14 were obedient to God in the previous life What would happen to the remaining people? I interrupted him. In a short while, Raphael will steadily up the volume so that, it will sound harsh. Then, this noise will transform into a loud bang. At that stage, the remaining people will also wake up but that awakening will be one of suffering and discomfort. We need to get out of here before that happens, he replied hurriedly. I wondered to myself as I got up, but where to go? However, Saleh immediately understood my concern from my facial expressions and replied whilst taking quick steps, You are fortunate, Abdullah! We are heading towards Arsh the Throne of the Almighty. Then, he provided some more details: At this stage, only the prophets, the Siddiqeen, the Shuhada, and the Salaiheen have emerged from their graves. God ordained the success of these people while they were still in the previous world. They are the ones who believed in God despite being unable to see him with their eyes. They found him despite being unable to touch him with their hands. They listened to his call without being able to hear his voice with their ears. They believed in his prophets, submitted to them, and supported them in an exemplary manner. Their loyalty was neither to their religious leaders, personalities, or sectarian elite nor to the prejudices of their ancestors. Their loyalty was only, and only to God and his prophets. They patiently sustained all kinds of sufferings, tolerated all kinds of scorns, and underwent all sorts of hardships, just for the sake of God. High morals and noble character was the only way of life to follow for them. All their lives, they were in love with their Creator and compassionate to his creations. Abdullah! Today is the day for recompense of these people and this is the beginning of their recompense. As I listened to Saleh, my face displayed expressions of astonishment while his was gleaming with enjoyment. But, I was in Paradise and Saleh interrupted me before I completed my sentence, and said light-heartedly: My dear friend that was the period of Barzakh, the world hidden behind a curtain, from your previous world. That was a life of dreams. The real life has begun only now. Only now will people receive the reward of Paradise. By the way, that life in the Barzakh was also a reality. Remember, our friendship started during that life? I shook my head and just stared at him. Some of this made sense to me but there was a lot more to comprehend. However, I decided that at that stage it would be more appropriate to leave myself at Saleh s disposal. ********** My friendship with Saleh began when after my death or more appropriately, after I stepped out from the illusion of a finite world and entered the real world. People are usually very scared of death, but for me, death was a pleasant experience. The name of angel of death, Azrael (Izra il) was a symbol of terror in the world, but he came to me in a very handsome façade. He separated my personality that is, my soul, from my body with utmost love and care. My body remained in the previous world while he transferred my true personality into this new world called the Barzakh. Barzakh actually refers to a

15 veil or a curtain; a curtain appeared between the previous world and me as soon as the angel of death appeared. Because of this curtain, I lost all contact with that world. I did not know what happened to my family due to the grief of separation, although I had full confidence that because of the upbringing I provided them, they would be patient and content upon the will of our Lord. I was in a new world now, with my true personality. This was the world of Barzakh. The angel of death Israel had handed me over into the care of Saleh in this world. Along with him, there were many good looking, well-dressed and well-spoken angels. All of them had bouquets of flowers in their hands, while on their lips they had salutations and prayers for long life. In this background of greetings and wishes for long life, together, all of them tried to reassure me that the days of trial were over; the days of the glorious success of Paradise had begun in earnest, they kept telling me. It was then, when Saleh gave me the glad tidings of my first reward at the start of my life in Barzakh. The reward was an audience with the Master of Earth and Skies! He also informed me that this honour was granted to only a select few. I cherished this news even more than the glad tidings of entering the paradise. Hence, my journey began in the company of these angels. This was a new world. Over there, the meanings of distances, places, time, and space altered in such a manner that it is impossible to explain them in words. I was in a state of euphoria and trance on this journey, when suddenly, we were ordered to stop. It was announced that the angels of Earth had now reached their limit and must halt. Only Saleh was allowed to accompany me from there onwards. The journey into the unseen skies began. Soon, we stopped again. I was informed that Archangel Gabriel, the Trustworthy had specially come to welcome me. On seeing me, he said: Abdullah! You are meeting me for the first time, but I have met you many times previously. As he lightly tapped on my shoulder, he spoke again: On the orders of my Master, I helped you many a times but you were not aware of it. On hearing the word Master, my face became alight with excitement. The spiritual being of Archangel Gabriel sensed this even before I had a chance to put my feelings into words. He said: Come on, then! I shall take you to meet your Lord. Apart from prophets, the privilege of attending the court of the One and the only God is reserved for very few human beings. You are indeed, very fortunate! As we proceeded forward, a question came into my mind; I felt that it was appropriate to ask Archangel Gabriel PBUH about it. So I said: Are we going towards Sidrah tul-muntaha, the limit which no creation can pass? No He replied, and then clarified further: You are probably thinking about Mi raj; that is the path of the prophets. The places where the prophets are presented for attendance are supreme. They are also allowed to witness places and events in the Universe that others are not allowed to see. Your path is totally different. The reason you have been called for is to grant you the honour of prostrating in the Court of the Almighty. Probably, it is because of you that Saleh has also been granted permission to come so far. I looked back at Saleh; his face was glowing with joy. Gabriel PBUH continued his

16 conversation: God is boundless. His abodes are countless. In your world, these abodes cannot even be imagined. Whatever knowledge you had on Earth was very little and limited. Now, after death, your eyes have truly opened. You can now see a world, whose enchantments know no bounds. What I was observing was a testament to the truthfulness of Archangel Gabriel. I thought to myself, it is a great blessing of God that I did not die in a state of disobedience and rejection of the ultimate truth about him. Otherwise, I would have had to see an awful and horrifying scene on waking up after death. Accompanied by Archangel Gabriel, we passed through various stages and approached the Bearers of God s Throne in the Empyrean *(Arsh). Here was a beautiful and subtle blend of Nur, colour and light, the description of which was beyond the realm of words. The heads of the bearers were bowed. Their faces displayed an air of fear as well as a light of serenity. Archangel Gabriel explained: Every command from the Court of the Almighty descends through these angels and every act of the creatures below is presented to the Almighty via them. I was watching them with envy in this unique place of closeness to God. They also looked up at me and for an instance, a smile appeared on their lips. This gave me more courage. I took a few steps towards the empyrean. Every pore of my body began to sing praise for the One, whom, I had yearned to meet my entire life. I do not know why but I began to tremble as I walked forward. The realisation of God s greatness overcame the intense desire of meeting him. At that instant, I felt so over whelmed by his grandeur that I started to retreat in fear. The Throne was still quite far but the realisation of the magnanimity of the Master of the Throne broke my will. I felt at that moment, that my being would breakdown into countless tiny fragments and disperse into the atmosphere. Perhaps, that is what would have happened, but at that instant, I heard the voice of Archangel Gabriel in my ears, saying: Bow down right here Abdullah! Only the noble prophets can go beyond this place. Saleh and I both prostrated right there. Thus, I prostrated to the One I had prostrated to all my life without being able to see him, but today, this was after seeing him. Well, I did not really see him; I only saw the signs of his presence. I do not remember how long and delightful was this act of prostration. The One who bestowed the Sun with a glittering sheet of light and the Moon with a cover of brightness, the One who provided fragrance to flowers and dressed the butterflies with colours, the One who gave sparkle to the stars and jingle to the blooms, the One who granted the skies their sublime crown and to the seas the dominion of vastness, the One who blessed the soil with fertility and adorned rivers with the beauty of flowing water, and the One who endowed man with the ability to communicate and the honour of receiving the revelation of the Qur an every moment spent in the feet of such a being was superior to any other honour. Even owning an empire comprised of the seven continents of the world could not have surpassed this experience. However, inevitably this moment had to end. I heard the delightful voice of the Bearers of the Throne chanting: Hu Allah hu, la Illaha illa Hu, which meant, He is God, there is no deity worthy of worship except him. This was in fact, an announcement that the Master of the Throne was about to speak. A voice proclaimed:

17 I am God and there is no one worthy of worship but me. The effect of this magical voice was more delightful than any melody I had ever heard before; it left my body in a state of absolute attentiveness. All my strength suddenly became focused in my ears and my sense of hearing. I wanted to hear more, but there was a pause. I realised that I was expected to say something. The first sentence that came to my trembling lips was: Master! This is the only truth I came to realise in my lifetime. My voice was so faint that even my own ears could barely hear it. However, it reached the One who knows all, whether hidden or obvious; the One who even knows the secrets embedded deep inside hearts. He replied: Not everyone who knows this fact is able to reach here... do you know this, Abdullah? How come you reached here? This time, the magnanimous tone in the expression of my Lord had a tinge of affection about it. The reason is Abdullah, that you dedicated your life to informing other people about me. You spent your life warning them about the day they will meet me. You made my remembrance, and work for my causes a mission of your life this is the reward for it. At that moment, I just wanted to continue to listen to the words of the Master of Skies and Earth; this felt like the most intense desire I had ever experienced in my life. However, once again, the King of the Worlds became silent. I sensed that my Master was giving me another opportunity to speak. I said: Can I stay near you, over here? My Lord replied, no one is far from me Abdullah, neither am I far from anyone. All my obedient servants who lived their lives in my remembrance are close to me, regardless of whether they are men or women. Anything else...? The last comment made me realise that the meeting was ending. I said: What are my orders, Master? The time to obey orders has long gone, the Almighty replied. Soon, it will be time for you to give orders as a king. For the time being, you should return. Life has not begun yet. As I was leaving, I said: You would not forget me on the Day of Judgement, would you? I have heard a lot about the horrors of that day and your anger. I could feel a beautiful smile spreading in the air. A sharp voice followed: You human beings are the ones prone to forgetfulness, Abdullah. The King of kings your Lord, the One who provides for you, does not forget anything. As for my anger, it never over shadows my mercy. You remembered me your entire life with hope and fear. I will also remember you with forgiveness and mercy. However There was a moment of a kingly pause then he continued: For your consolation, I am sending Saleh along with you. He will look after you. This is the account of my first meeting with Saleh, and the real reason for the benefit of his company. I did not have a physical body during my life in Barzakh. Here, my feelings, emotions, experiences, and observations were akin to a dream. It was a nonphysical life but one full of insight. I had full realisation of the blessings that awaited me

18 in the Paradise. Saleh used to visit me regularly, whenever I wished for him to do so. Whenever he would come, he would inform me about all sorts of new things and answer all my questions. Slowly, our friendship became stronger. In our last meeting, he told me that life was about to begin. Hence, today, along with him, I was crossing the vast plane on the Day of Judgement, rapidly moving towards the Throne. ********** As I was walking along with Saleh, I looked around; it was a never-ending plane, as far as the eyes could see. The atmosphere felt like it used to be just after dusk before sunrise, around the time of morning prayers; it was as if, daybreak was about to scatter all around. At that time, I could see only a handful of people in the field, albeit, all of them had the same destination. I wondered if anyone amongst those people was a prophet or a messenger. I looked towards Saleh; he knew what I wanted to know. He replied: All of them woke up earlier. We are in fact, going towards them. Will I get a chance to meet them? I asked him eagerly, excited like a child. He stopped walking and spoke gently: In fact, your life will now be spent amongst them. Abdullah! You have still not managed to grasp what is happening. The trial has now finished. There is no façade anymore. Life is now beginning in real and in this life, righteous people will live along with other righteous people forever, and the ones who are evil, shall live along with people who are evil. The truth was that I had still not recovered from the shock of all that was happening around me. In fact, the entire introduction to this new world had already taken place in the Barzakh. That was a kind of non-physical world but now, here, on this Day of Judgement, everything was similar to the physical world in which I lived previously. My hands and feet, my feelings and the earth and the sky around me everything was similar to what I was used to in the previous world. In that world, I had a home, a family, a neighbourhood, a region and a nation... suddenly there was an explosion in my head. I stopped immediately and grabbing Saleh with both my hands, asked him: Where is my family? My relatives, my friends, where are they? What will happen to them? Why can I not see them? Saleh answered while avoiding my gaze: Do not ask me such questions Abdullah whose answers I do not know. Every person is on his own today. No one can benefit anyone else. If their deeds are good, then remain confident that they will end up meeting you. No injustice shall be done to them. But, if their deeds are not good, then... Saleh left the sentence incomplete and became silent. On hearing his reply, my mood suddenly became sad. He put his hand on my shoulder and tried to elevate my spirit in these words: Have faith in God, Abdullah. You were a fighting soldier in God's army. For this reason, you have risen before others. Rest of the people are rising up now. Those people will also meet you, God-willing, in the right circumstances. For the moment, continue to move ahead.

19 My moral rose due to his reassurance and I started to walk briskly along with him. ********** Chapter 2: In the Shadow of the Throne We were moving forward like delicate, yet brisk breeze. The walk was enjoyable rather than tiring. I am not sure how far we had travelled when Saleh said: In the shadow of the Divine Throne, we are about to enter the territory of the Guardians. Look ahead! The crowd of angels is visible. Behind them is a tall door. That is the door to go inside. On Saleh's prompting, I looked ahead and saw the angels and the door behind them. However, this door was peculiar as it stood without any supporting walls. It could well be that the walls were invisible since nothing was visible behind the door as if an invisible veil had obscured everything that was beyond. On hearing his words, my steps became brisk and the distance began to reduce rapidly. The door was still far away but I could now see the angels clearly. They were very tall and looked stern. They had whips of fire in their hands, which made me uneasy. I grasped Saleh's hand firmly, and whilst trying to stop him, pleaded: You are perhaps heading in the wrong direction, Saleh. They appear to be angels of punishment. Keep moving, he replied without stopping. Reluctantly, I had to follow him. However, I ensured that I walked two steps behind him so that in case we had to turn and run I would be ahead of him. Saleh had understood my feelings and he felt it was necessary to explain: Indeed, they are the angels of punishment And they are there to beat me up and cleanse me of my sins? I interrupted him in mid-sentence. He chuckled on hearing my words and replied: Remember, if you were to be beaten up, running away would not help. No one can match the pace and might of these angels. For your information, they are not standing here to beat you up. They are here only to discourage any criminal of God from coming this way. As we approached them, they separated in two groups to make way for us. They also moved their whips behind them as a gesture of kindness. I hoped that they would smile or show expression of joy on seeing us, but despite my best efforts, I could not detect any such expression. Saleh commented: One of the reasons for their presence here is to make you appreciate the blessing of God that has saved you from angels like them. Words of praise for the Lord flowed from my lips involuntarily. Having passed through the angels, we approached the door and it opened automatically. As soon as that happened, I saw a picturesque view. The land beyond

20 appeared to be especially blessed by the Divine Throne. I could feel pleasant cold winds seeping through my core while an aroma of enchanting fragrances enthralled me. As we entered through the door, I saw rows after rows of angels in front of us. They were attractive and their faces were adorned with beautiful smiles. They stood in reverential attentiveness with their hands held together in front. As we passed through them, they greeted us with prayers, salaam, and welcoming words. I could feel the warmth of their genuinely welcoming behaviour deep inside my soul; the fragrances emanating from their bodies were overwhelming my emotions. When I entered that place, I felt the sensation of an extraordinary change within me. However, at that time all my attention was focused on the angels and the pleasant environment around. Hence, I did not pay much attention to it and attributed it to a change in the environment. As we walked along, a thought came to my mind. I whispered in Saleh s ear: I can appreciate that these people are welcoming me because they regard me as a person who has succeeded but I do not know them personally. Are you acquainted with any of them? Saleh laughed on hearing this and replied: Abdullah, today every person will be recognised by what shows on his forehead. You may not be aware of it but your whole introduction is recorded there. Just watch what happens next. A handsome angel, who stood at the end of the row and appeared to be their leader, came to me and greeted me, calling me by my name. I greeted him in reply. He then spoke in a soft and affectionate tone: Congratulations on ever-lasting success! I thanked him; he asked: Would you like to have a look in the mirror? I could not fathom whether he was serious or was trying to be humorous, as I could not find any reason to look in the mirror. He did not wait for my reply and signalled to an angel. The next moment, there was a full-length mirror in front of me. I looked at it and became sure that it was some sort of a practical joke as this was not a mirror. Rather, it looked like an extremely beautiful and life-like portrait of a handsome young man; in fact, he was more of a prince standing dressed in regal attire. However, it was painted so well that it looked like a real man standing in front of the mirror. I looked at the angel and said smilingly: You have a good sense of humour but the painting is even better. You seem to be its painter, but who is the model? The angel replied soberly: The real painter is Al-Mussawir, the divine painter, God All Mighty. However, you are the model. He signalled to Saleh who came and stood close to me. He then turned my face towards the portrait again. I could also see Saleh in the portrait along with the young man. Amazed, I looked back and forth many times at Saleh and the image in the mirror about which both were insisting that it was my own reflection. But definitely it is not me! I said in an excited voice. Saleh replied by reciting this verse: O the life of the whole world,

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